Mater Dei showed they are a program to be reckoned with by beating DePaul, 28-23. The winning score came with 41 seconds left, followed by their halting DePaul’s last second attempt at the winning score.
Mater Dei opened the game with the ball and went on a classic, seven minute drive on sixteen plays, capping it off with a 1-yard Rob McCoy touchdown run. This was the ultimate case of Mater Dei playing hard-nosed football, continuously knocking DePaul back off the line of scrimmage. In short, they beat the you-know-what out of them on the drive and Malik Ingram ran on eleven of those plays.
They quickly added to the lead, recovering a fumble on the DePaul 9 on their first play from scrimmage and McCoy ran for the score on the following play for a 14-0 lead with a little over four minutes left in the quarter.
DePaul settled down and moved the ball and scored on a pass from Ta’Quan Roberson to Sean Kelly for 29 yards, as Kelly showed great effort dragging tacklers the last few yards near the left sideline on the bleacher side.
DePaul looked as if they were ready to tie the game in the second quarter, advancing to the 12, but Roberson was intercepted in the end zone by Elijah Johnston to end that threat and the score was 14-7, Mater Dei, at the half.
DePaul opened the third quarter with a 31-yard field goal by Matt Wilderson to narrow the lead to 14-10 and it set the stage for a wild fourth quarter.
DePaul went in front on a Kelly run of six yards and the Spartans had the lead for the first time with nine minutes left in the game, 17-14. Mater Dei struck when McCoy hit Elijah Alston for a 44 yard touchdown and the Seraphs were in front, 21-17, with five minutes left. Kelly scored his third touchdown with two-and-a-half minutes left to give DePaul the lead again, but missed the extra point, making it 23-21. Mater Dei had a fabulous drive, connecting on passes that provided first downs, the last being a 29-yard touchdown from McCoy to Clarence Lewis with 41 seconds left to give Mater Dei the lead at 28-23.
Roberson was leading a drive that brought them to the 10 with seventeen seconds left. A Mater Dei penalty brought it to the 5 and Roberson found James Westry to get to the 2-yard line with four seconds left. Roberson rolled right and turned back, throwing to the left side of the end zone, where Tahaj Parland broke up the pass to preserve the win for Mater Dei.
What a game!
This has a lot of action from both teams. Mater Dei’s opening drive was memorable, as was their winning drive that was so well executed. DePaul almost had a drive to remember and it was, but Parland broke up the pass for Mater Dei to make it a memory they would prefer to forget. Mater Dei proved they are for real; they are very well coached and have good players, including many who pass the eyeball test. It will be interesting to see what they achieve against Red Bank Catholic.